Australian performing arts and acrobatic group Circa’s exhilarating brand of contemporary circus fused with the exquisite sound of I Fagiolini’s wonderfully evocative singing, How Like An Angel celebrates the beauty of Hove’s All Saints Church by exploring the spaces acoustically and also with stunning displays of group acrobatics and balancing taking place in, around, on and above the audience and church pillars.
The church was lit beautifully and the night started with promise and just got better from there. Although I wasn’t always aware of how the narrative fitted in with the music there were some moments of sublime beauty contrasted with some physically impressive group balancing, gymnastic and contorting routines, and the odd sly touch of humor too.
Here’s a video clip of the work:
Over all it worked and worked well, it had style and substance and the mix of a very modern form of circus mixed with elements of modern dance, polyphonic music with the choirs scattered around the church and some fun musical elements like African choral music and some electronica. It was an eclectic mix. Circa are six performers and very easy on the eye too, they writhe, leap and contort, climb over each other like sinuous waves and generally seem to have a lot of fun while pushing themselves and their bodies to the limit. Without giving too much away about some of the more surprising elements of the night there was more than one moment when all 420 people standing in the church gasped loudly and all together at what they saw unfold. Check out Circa’s website here:
The spellbinding programme of music included Thomas Tallis’ Gaude gloriosa, Hildegard of Bingen’s O Viridissima Virgo and Missa L’homme arme (Agnus dei) by Josquin des Prez. The choir was pitch perfect and mixed in occasionally with the acrobats to give an almost medieval fair feel to the event, it veered between big top and cathedral nave, from thrill to sublime and never hovered long in either space, blending both elements with style into a cohesive interesting whole.
The show got long and enthusiast applause at the end, the musicians and acrobats looking a little surprised that they should get such a warm welcome, but it was well deserved. This was the Brighton Festival at it’s very best, using a fantastic space in an innovative way and ensuring top quality performers and musicians were allowed to shine.
For more info on the event see here:
For more info or to book tickets for other events see the Festival website here: